Lightening is caused by the build up of electrostatic charge in clouds. In the United States over 1000 people get stuck by lightening every year, and more then 100 die. Benjamin Franklin discovered the lightning rod in the summer of 1747 after doing lots of experiments with lightening such as the kite and key experiment. He was inspired to create the lightening rod after realizing how much of a threat lightening was to some community’s. The lightening rod soon became very successful and dramatically decreased the amount of damage done by lightening. The lightening rod is used worldwide and is 99% effective in preventing lightening damage.
The lightning rod is a metal rod or metallic object mounted on top of a building. It connects to a huge piece of copper or aluminum wire, were it is then connected to a conductive grid buried in the ground nearby. The purpose of the lightening rod is to provide a low-resistance path to ground to prevent enormous electrical currents. Lightening rods attract the lightening thus drawing it away from the buildings. If lightning hits the building it will hopefully strike the rod and be conducted to ground, instead of passing through the building, where it could start a fire or cause electrocution.